3rd Week of Lent: thirst for living water


O God, you are my God—

it is you I seek!

For you my body yearns;

for you my soul thirsts,

In a land parched, lifeless,

and without water.

~ Psalm 63:2

You are here because you’re thirsty. So am I. I’m so thirsty, and together we long for living water. We long for an authentic encounter with Christ in the Eucharist, but also in one another.

What does it mean to encounter Christ? What does that encounter look like? What does it feel like? Does it feel like a cool drink of water? A light shining in darkness? Kind words calling us to rise, to awake from our slumber. A whispered, be not afraid.

The next section of From Ash to Water focuses on three stories that help us understand our encounter with Jesus: The Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:1-42), The Man Born Blind (Jn 9:1-41), and The Raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:1-41).  Each of these Sunday readings features a predominant symbol for Christ:  Water.  Light.  Life.  As a reader, writer, and literature teacher, I’m always moved by the the beauty of our Catholic liturgy and this deliberate unfolding of our story with God during Lent, for these particular encounter stories in the lectionary are intended to call us deeper to conversion and prepare us for the promise of Easter.  Fr. Luis says in From Ash to Water,

Water, light, and life. This encounter is the beginning of a new path in their lives. For us, on our path from ash to water, these three encounters are a reminder of our baptism. (115)

These stories invite us, then, not only to receive Christ as the Samaritan Woman did at the well, but to live out our baptismal promises, becoming Christ for others. You know those baptismal promises, don’t you?

Reject Satan.    And all his works.    And all his empty promises.

Can’t you just see our pastor with his binder open walking down the center aisle reciting them to us right now, a bowl of water and a sprig of rosemary at the ready? I think he would forgive me for offering this little revision to those ancient words we recite together at Easter when I say,

I promise

To carry water.    To shine light.    To give hope.


labrynthM E D I T A T I O N

Have you ever experienced dire thirst, either literally or spiritually? How did you get into that situation and how did you make your way back to water?

When recently have you found yourself becoming Christ for others?   Water  ♥  Light  ♥  Life

Take a few minutes to read the gospel story of the Samaritan Woman.  Can you imagine encountering Christ at the well? Sit there with him, listening. What truth about your own life would he tell you? What are you carrying that’s weighing you down?  Are you ready to surrender this burden and accept in its place his love and forgiveness?

♥ I’m thirsty for you! Drop me an email or leave a comment to let me know how your Lenten Journey is going? Are you rediscovering what sustains and nourishes you, what fills your well and waters your fields? I long to hear your story and know you.

P R A Y E R

This week we pray for living water. We all thirst, and we offer gratitude to God for his healing love and mercy. We give thanks for the Samaritan Woman, who by her encounter with Jesus became living water for others. And as we encounter Jesus, let us also be touched by his love and share it with our brothers and sisters.  May we find the courage and compassion desperately needed in our communities, so thirsting for God’s love. Help us become living vessels, carrying this love to others, especially those most in need of our kindness.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

~ Psalm 95: 7-8

Dear brothers and sisters, how greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!

~ Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2015

If you don’t already keep a prayer journal, maybe this Lent you’d consider experimenting with this rewarding spiritual practice. Find a special pen and a lovely notebook and copy the prayer onto a blank page, to keep and reflect on later.

new-button_smPrayers for the Third Week of Lent

Whenever you’re ready, click on the green link to read these beautiful spiritual affirmations for the upcoming week: “Thirst: God’s Desire for Me” and “I Thirst.”


If you are making your way here for the first time, we are working through a Lenten Retreat using Luis Granados’ book From Ash to Water. Sign up to receive notification of new posts by email. All are welcome!
For related posts in this retreat sequence see:

2nd Week of Lent: Transfigure Us, O Lord

1st Week of Lent: Make in Me A New Heart

2 thoughts on “3rd Week of Lent: thirst for living water”

  1. I am keeping a journal during lent and the questions you have here are helping me make good use of it! I have been blessed by wonderful friends who have been the light of Christ for me during recent hard times and they teach me, they have shown me, how love heals and how I can try to pass it on to others. Thank you.

  2. I love your image of self as vessel and it reminded me of a beautiful story about imperfection and God’s love:

    “The Cracked Pot” (unknown author)
    A water bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.
    One of the pots had a crack in it. The other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of a long walk from the stream to the master’s house, but the cracked pot arrived only half full. For over two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master.
    Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its achievments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
    After two years of what it thought was bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. ‘I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you.’
    ‘Why?’ asked the bearer. ‘What are you ashamed of?’
    ‘I have been able, for the past two years, to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do more journeys, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,’ the pot said.
    The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and said ‘As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.’
    Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it a little. But at the end of the trail, it still felt sad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologised to the bearer for its failure.
    The bearer said to the pot, ‘Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other side?’ That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.’

    Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, God will use our flaws to a good purpose. In God’s great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don’t be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. It’s so often in our weakness that we find out strength.

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